Note: If you are looking for any posts you have missed, or a FREE copy of the study guide, you can find the table of contents by clicking here.
Below are my thoughts for each of the chapters we studied this week along with the answers to the questions I posted in the study guide.
Also, make sure that you get a copy of the coloring page I have pasted below. Have a great weekend!
My thoughts on this chapter…
What stood out to me in this chapter was the reflection of Abraham’s faith. I hadn’t realized before how long Abraham waited for the birth of Isaac. It was about 15 years from Genesis 15 to chapter 17, which led them to be 90 (Sarah) and 100 (Abraham) years old by the time Isaac was born. Not only was their age a test of faith, but the time of waiting would have been an enormous test in itself as many would wonder if God had forgotten His promise or given up on them completely.
Faith isn’t simply an act saying you believe, it’s continuing in that faith when you’re tested and tried.
Questions and Answers…
Where else in the Bible can we find this scripture, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness?”
Genesis 15:6 – God came to Abraham in a vision. He told him that he would give him a child, and that his descendants would be innumerable like the stars in the sky. What’s interesting to note is that Isaac wasn’t born until 15 years later, which put Abraham and his wife Sarai long past their child bearing years. We see in Genesis 17 that Abraham was 100 and Sarai (later named Sarah) was ninety when Isaac was born. Abraham remained faithful to God and held to His promise.
We know that faith without works is dead. So what is the different then, between work replacing one’s faith, and faith generating good work? Also see James 2:14-26
When talking about faith vs. works we have to take the entire Bible into context. James 2: 17 says, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” And so we see that one should not be without the other. Works can’t save a person. I can’t escape the judgment of hell based on good behavior. There’s a penalty for my sin, which must be paid and was paid on the cross. It’s by faith in Jesus and the shedding of His blood that righteousness is imputed to me.
My work (fruit) is a symbol of that faith in much the same way that circumcision was a symbol of Abraham’s faith. The crucifixion of my sinful flesh to walk in the Spirit. To follow the Spirit is to listen to the Spirit and to obey the commandments of God. This doesn’t save me, but bearing good fruit is the evidence of my faith. It doesn’t mean that I am under the law, but rather under the influence of the Spirit.
“But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:18-25
Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. Was this before or after he was circumcised? And what does this signify?
It was before. In Genesis 17:10-14 we see that God instructs Abraham to circumcise both himself and every male descendant, he was ninety-nine years old at that time. The promise however, was made in Genesis 15, and we see in chapter 16 that Abraham was 86 years old when his first son was born. And so we know that approximately 15 years passed from the time the promise was made until the circumcision.
Let’s look at Romans 9:4 then. It says, “Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.”
We can easily conclude then that Abraham was not justified by works (circumcision) but by faith. The circumcision was merely a symbol of that faith.
What is the definition of faith?
I see faith as two-fold. One is believing without proof, and the other is being loyal to a promise. And so we can both have faith in God and be faithful to Him. Abraham was both. He believed God’s promise when it went against everything humanly possibly, and he lived a life that was faithful to God.
What Psalm does Paul quote in this chapter?
In Romans 4:8, he quotes Psalm 32:1-2, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.”
Who is Abraham the father of?
All who believe in Jesus Christ.
What was the hope against all hope that Abraham believed in?
“He considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God. – Romans 4:19-20
What good is it if someone keeps the law, but lacks faith? In the same way, what good is a moral man without faith?
The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is not one that is righteous, not one that does good apart from God.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” – Isaiah 64:6
The law doesn’t take away our sin, it makes us aware of how sinful we are and how much we’re in need of redemption. Where there is sin, there is need for a sacrifice, which can only come through faith in Jesus Christ and His work on the cross.
One might assume that a moral life is a righteous life, but in doing so they ignore the penalty for the many times they have sinned and will continue to do so, they also ignore the severity of sin itself.
In Matthew 5:21-22, Jesus says,
“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: but I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.”
Righteousness comes by faith in Jesus Christ.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
How does Paul describe God in verse 17?
He, “quickeneth the dead.” Those who are dead in sin are alive in Christ.
My thoughts on this chapter…
I love the beauty of God’s grace. He not only rescues mankind, but demonstrates His love in such a compassionate way by sending His most prized possession (for lack of a better word) to save us. He doesn’t barter with mankind. He doesn’t reward us for our righteousness. He reaches down to the unrighteous and gives where it’s least deserving.
Paul writes, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:7-8
Questions and Answers…
How has Jesus given us access to God?
The Bible tells us that sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2), for the sinful man is at enmity with God. In order to bring peace and to build a bridge between God and man, Christ took our sin upon himself and crucified it on the cross.
How can suffering work for our good?
Each and every time we suffer, we grow as we learn to practice patience and put our faith in God. Trials reminds us to take our eyes off of this world and turn our affections to God.
How did God demonstrate His love to us?
While we were still sinners, He sent His only son to die for us, so that we could be reconciled to Him. It’s not that we were loving, or deserving, or praiseworthy in any way, but rather that He was was a gracious and compassionate God.
What does “justified by His blood” mean?
According to dictionary.com, justified means, “to declare innocent or guiltless; absolve; acquit.” His blood was poured out in payment for our sin. When we put our faith in Christ, that justification is imputed to us. The penalty is paid in full so that we might stand guiltless before God.
Did sin exist before the law?
Adam’s sin was extended to each and every one of us. The spiritual death that came with sin also. And so yes, sin did exist before the law—by those who willfully sinned against God and those who carried the sin of Adam.
How did death enter the world?
Steven J. Cole of Bible.org writes, “Paul is referring to the original sin when Adam disobeyed God’s explicit command and ate the forbidden fruit. God had warned Adam that in the day he ate of that fruit, he would die (Gen. 2:17). This referred both to physical death and to spiritual death, or separation from God. At the moment Adam and Eve ate the fruit, the effects of physical aging and death were set into motion. While the patriarchs lived extraordinarily long lives, the repeated refrain of Genesis 5 is, “and he died, … and he died.” Not only did people begin to die physically after the original sin, but also the entire creation began to experience death (Rom. 8:20-22).”
What does verse 14 mean?
The spiritual death and separation from God didn’t stop with Adam. This sin was passed down to all men and women whether they willfully sinned against God or not. One man brought death, the other brought life. “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” – Romans 5:19
How was the judgment of death different from the gift of grace?
The judgment of death brought condemnation, the gift of grace brought justification.
“As by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (v.18)
Why was the law introduced?
The law with it’s commandments and regulations was put in place both to show men how sinful they were, and their need for redemption. It pointed to the coming Messiah who would take away the sins of the world.
The more that men understood the gravity of their sin and their need for redemption, the more conscious they became of God’s goodness and grace.
My thoughts on this chapter…
Paul asks, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?”
This is a question that people ponder today. In fact I had a reader once ask me, “Why can’t I just sin today and ask for forgiveness tomorrow?” We need to understand two things. One is that that sin lies at our door and could seize us at any moment. We need to be award of that danger, and understand how powerful temptation can be.
For one to say, “I’ll sin today and repent tomorrow,” shows that they don’t realize the power that temptation has to overcome a believer.
“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” – James 1:14-14
See that word “enticed” there? Enticement is a dangerous thing. It doesn’t mean that we are attracted to something we want, or that we desire to have it. Enticement signifies that we have been ensnared and deceived by our lust.
And the second thing we need to understand is the importance of repentance and conversion. It’s more than lip service at an altar call. A repentant life is a converted life. If we’re truly sorry for the sin in our past we’ll do everything we can to eliminate it in our future. This doesn’t mean that we’ll live perfectly by any means, but what it does mean is that we’ll have an abhorance for sin. Galatians 5:24 tells us, “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
If we’re still entertaining the idea of enjoying our sin, we need to ask ourselves if we’ve truly crucified the person we were.
Questions and Answers…
If we’re saved by grace, should we then go on sinning? Why or why not?
Some might take Paul’s words to mean, sin all you want today and receive God’s grace tomorrow, and so he’s addressing this issue of abuse before it takes place.
Paul asks, “shall we continue in sin…” Which brings us to the very important topic of repentance and dying to sin. To repent is to both feel regret for the sins of our past, and to change our attitude toward the sin in our future.
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted [changed/transformed], that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” – Acts 3:19
Paul writes, “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” What he is talking about here is the habitual sin of an unrepentant life. We’re human and so we’re all going to sin at one time or another, but those who are in Christ have both crucified the flesh and continue to do so on a daily basis. To love Christ, is to hate sin.
What does 1 John 3:4-6 tell us about those who continue to sin?
That if we are still serving sin we’re not serving Christ. If we keep on sinning without any remorse (repentance) or attempt to change (conversion) we haven’t truly made a decision to serve and follow Him.
What does it mean to be baptized into Christ’s death?
The word “baptize” comes from the Greek word, baptizein, which means “immerse, dip in water,” also figuratively, “be over one’s head.” (Online Etymology Dictionary)
With the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we’re fully immersed in the Spirit. Water baptism is symbolic of our baptism in Christ as we’re fully immersed in Him. We partake of His death by crucifying the old person we were, and living in newness of life.
What is the difference between being tempted, and letting sin reign over your body and mind?
We’re all tempted on a daily basis. Even Jesus was tempted. In fact, Hebrews 4:15 tells us that He, “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
Letting sin reign in our body is giving the sin and temptation control. The more we allow temptation and sin to creep in, the more difficult it is to resist, which is why it’s important to resist temptation the moment we sense it.
James 1:14-15 warns us, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”
Are Christians still under the law?
Many Jews at that time were wondering if they still had to live under the weight of the law (Jewish Law) with it’s many rituals, ceremonies, and commandments. Paul clearly informs them that those in Christ are no longer under the law, but under grace.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” – Romans 8:2
What is a servant or slave of sin?
When we obey sin, we allow it to not only move in, but to rule in our lives.
What is a servant or slave of righteousness?
When we make a decision to follow the Spirit, we turn the authority over to God to become servants of Christ. Paul says, “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (v.18)
What is the fruit of righteousness, better known as the fruit of the Spirit? See Galatians 5:22-23
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Adam died 930 years after he sinned. How do we reckon this with Genesis 2:17? Also compare Romans 6:23.
In Genesis 2:17, God warned Adam and Eve, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
What God was referring to there was a spiritual death. They were still alive in a physical sense, but their spirit was separated from God.
Every person from that point on was born with that sentence of death, and a spirit in need of redemption.
Jesus came to reverse that death sentence and bridge the gap between God and man, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”- John 5:24
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